WHY DOES MY DOG BARK AT EVERY LITTLE THING?
Do you have a dog that barks at every little noise? Whether it’s another dog barking, the doorbell, or simply you opening a cupboard, your dog feels the need to bark. Dogs who are overly sensitive to sound – sometimes called “alert barkers,” and wake barkers, can make daily life extremely unpleasant! Luckily, there are ways you can help your dog stop the incessant barking.
So why are some dogs more sensitive to noises? We can’t say for every dog with certainty, but there seems to be a few reasons why:
- Your dog is anxious and stressed and that manifests through barking at everything.
- Your dog feels the need to guard his home and you from every threat, and that includes any noise he hears. It also doesn’t matter whether he is a tiny breed or large breed.
- Over-excitement, like when they hear you dishing up their food or someone parks a car in the driveway. Or someone passes by.
- Because other dogs in the neighborhood are barking and your dog feels inclined to join in.
Some quick tips on tackling this issue:
First – ignore the barking. I know, this is the worst possible thing to think of doing. But when you yell at your dog, he just thinks you’re joining in and attention is attention at the end of the day. If you think your dog is doing it out of fear, don’t pet or try to console him, your dog may think he is being rewarded for barking. It’s best to ignore it.
Second – counter conditioning. Next, you are going to employ science to help your dog. Since noises make your dog react, you are going to condition him to think “reward” when he hears a noise and is quiet, instead of barking. To do this, you need to start out with a noise or a volume of noise that your dog doesn’t react to. Then reward him for being quiet. Gradually increase volume or type of noise as your dog is successful.
Third – get help. Working with a professional positive reinforcement dog trainer will help speed this training up because they can tailor the training to your specific dog’s needs. They can also help you identify if your dog is suffering from underlying issues, such as stress and anxiety, which may be making the behavior worse.